A linear framework for character skinning

Doctoral Thesis


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University of Cape Town

Character animation is the process of modelling and rendering a mobile character in a virtual world. It has numerous applications both off-line, such as virtual actors in films, and real-time, such as in games and other virtual environments. There are a number of algorithms for determining the appearance of an animated character, with different trade-offs between quality, ease of control, and computational cost. We introduce a new method, animation space, which provides a good balance between the ease-of-use of very simple schemes and the quality of more complex schemes, together with excellent performance. It can also be integrated into a range of existing computer graphics algorithms. Animation space is described by a simple and elegant linear equation. Apart from making it fast and easy to implement, linearity facilitates mathematical analysis. We derive two metrics on the space of vertices (the "'animation space"), which indicate the mean and maximum distances between two points on an animated character. Ve demonstrate the value of these metrics by applying them to the problems of parametrisation, level-of-detail (LOD) and frustum culling. These ltletrics provide information about the entire range of poses of an animated character, so they are able to produce better results than considering only a single pose of the character, as is commonly done.

Word processed copy.

Includes bibliographical references (p. 115-123).